To his majesty, Charles IV, King of Spain, оn behalf of my fellow brothers and myself, I address to the crown a serious conflict that needs immediate attention and closure. The continuous enslavement of blacks must end. With all due respect this is not a threat of forthcoming forced slave independence but a promise. I know that I am not the first to bring to your attention this idea. The maroons, a band of runaway slaves in Saint-Domingue pushed for the independence of slaves in 1751. Francois Macandal, the most famous leader of the maroons, expressed the same idea as me. The maroons began a hit-and-run of white-plantation owners in 1751 to avenge themselves against inhabitants. Unfortunately, they did not succeed. Mandal’s plan to abolish slavery lacked organization and leadership. As a result, the rebellion only lasted six years.
He may have been executed but his intentions still stand strong thirty years following his death. Because several feel the same as I and will without a doubt, support me through any means necessary i.e. the survivors of the maroon community, Kongo warriors, and The Amis de Noirs will form large committees to fight for independence if it shall not be granted. I kindly urge you to grant independence to all slaves because the cruel punishment they have endured for years will only encourage them to retaliate in the near future. As a former slave, I can relate to slave treatment. I have experienced much hardship yet; I praise the crown that I am free today because it has allowed me to transform. Currently, my class status is that no longer of a slave but of a free colored slaveholder. For this I owe to the Spanish crown – likely in return, if the crown takes into consideration my long days of slavery, then freedom of all slaves shall be granted on my behalf.
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In fact, If slaves retaliate, the Spanish crown’s economy will be in great danger, lands will be destroyed and plantation owners will not have the appropriate resources to maintain their plantations. The majority population is composed of slaves. If slaves decide to pursue an independence movement the Spanish will have little success in stopping them. Independence should be granted to slaves because aside from small rebellion attacks, slaves have respected and continue to respect the Spanish crown. Several plantation owners are abusing the law that slaves are now allowed to buy their own freedom. Being a Creole and a slaveholder, I am not against slavery but I do object to the cruel and unusual punishment of slavery by the majority of plantation owners, thus for this reason I take my stand. As stated briefly, plantation owners are abusing the law.
Instead of allowing slaves to buy their freedom, plantation owners will overwork and physically abuse slaves while requiring them to pay for their own freedom. As a result, many slaves never see freedom; their life span in combination with being overworked cuts their life short. When this happens, plantation owners benefit from the work of the slave and also the money the slave paid toward its freedom. This type of coercive labor is not beneficial to the Spanish crown. Perhaps if slaves were granted their freedom and allowed to work for plantation owners for small a small salary then the Spanish crown could benefit from their work, the crown would not have to worry about any rebellions, and there will not be conflicts with the social class structure.
Do not misunderstand my plead, I am not supporting an independence movement rather I am showing you my capabilities and what events may take place if you shall ignore my plead. This plead is for the purpose of the stability of the Spanish crown’s wealth and status. My fellow brothers shall also transform for slaves and be recognized as men. Single black general, Toussaint Louverture I am and I ask that you grant freedom to all slaves. Freed at the age of thirty I happen to be a former slave. Since freedom was granted and I currently own slaves why then am I persuading the crown to end slavery? The answer is quite simple. Slavery is pure turmoil that neither race shall endure. Examining the past, I use to belong to a slave elite and served as a coachman.
The dear Spanish crown, I am writing you because I have a personal problem. Upon examining my life I feel that I have work for nothing. The problem I have is affecting my family and others in my race because they have worked so hard to stabilized the wealth of the Spanish crown. I am a former slave and I feel that the master is abusing the law. According to the new laws slaves are allowed to buy their own freedom. Clearly, I am not trying to free the slaves but these masters are taking advantage of the law. I feel that something needs to be done about this because I feel that slaves in the future will retaliate in some shape or form. This is not a treat and no by the grace of God I am not trying to start an abolitionist movement, I am just trying to ensure the safety of my family. The reason I am dwelling on this issue is that I have family members who are still slaves.
My eldest son, Kendu’ was a very good man. He was a warrior in the Kongo tribe in Africa. Although a slave, he had much respect for the Spanish crown. Kendu’ was and I was excited with joy when we learned that he could buy his freedom ever since that day, Kendu saved his money and looked forward to buying his freedom, unfortunately, he was worked to death. My brother was worked to death. For no apparent reason, his master would whip him and work him from sun up ’till sundown-Kendu’ died in his sleep; with his saved up money the master bought another slave. Tell me what is the point in making slaves think that they are going to be free when all the masters are doing is working them to death. I use to be a former slave, after fighting in the war I was granted my freedom. Not every plantation degrades slaves beyond their already degrading status but there are many who but slaves just for the purpose of killing them.
As a free colored, my plantation has several slaves. Before I present you with my problem I would like to illustrate to you my love for the Spanish crown. In the past, I have gone through a lot with individual Spaniards that I know have nothing to do with the prestige crown. They have looked down upon me because I was a former slave. It is true that I lack the purity of being a pure Spaniard but after explaining to you my problem I wish for you to consider my letter on the same level as you would a pure Spaniard. I wish not to harass you with my complaint but rather to persuade you to rule in my favor. The problem is that the Spanish crown is giving slaves too much freedom and rights. The reason this is so is because of the bourbon reform. In the bourbon, reform slaves were granted better treatment than what they were receiving. I am not in favor of this kind of treatment because as a mulatto I have suffered.
I had to pay extra taxes, work hard, and didn’t have the chance of being a high official. Although this is so I am most grateful because the Spanish crown has transformed my family and me from being near the bottom of the social class and providing us with a respectable status. This same respectability I have to acquire I wish to continue to thank the crown. Your name is Abu. You and a small group of former Slaves live in the mountains in a “maroon” community. Some of the slaves have been set free by their masters. Because they have earned their freedom; others have run away from their masters; others were allowed to wander off the plantations because the persons in charge did not keep good security. You feel that the laws which affect the slaves are basically pretty good, but very few masters live by them.
The masters violate the law by severely whipping slaves for almost any excuse. Some days slaves are allowed to do very little work; other days they are whipped and beaten if they slack off for a few moments to rest. And there is really no “place” in Spanish society for the former slave-no one wants him around. There are very few ways a former slave can “make good” in this place. And the government better face facts in some places the blacks outnumber the whites by more than eight to one! And blacks outnumber the whites by more than eight to one! And they are getting fed up! Something’s got to be done about these masters who do not respect the laws, and ignore the human rights of their slaves … or there is going to be real trouble!